By Faranak Bakhtiari

Stay young Iran!

May 18, 2022 - 18:1

TEHRAN – While celebrating the national population week, starting May 14, the country is experiencing below-replacement fertility and soon hosting an aging population. Is it possible to stay young?

The National Population Week is marked under a theme of “Stay Young Iran”, as the population is an important and fundamental component of authority in each country.

The productive and young manpower is a factor in the economic and social growth of countries. Certainly, every society needs a young population to walk the path of development.

The first clause of the general population policies states that the development, dynamism, maturity, and youth population of a nation depend on the increase of the fertility rate and population growth.

Iran is experiencing below-replacement fertility — lower than 2.1 children per woman — which indicates that a generation is not producing enough children to replace itself, eventually leading to an outright reduction in population.

According to the population and housing census, the average population growth has decreased in recent years, and this declining trend is a serious warning.

The country’s elderly population is projected to nearly double over the next 20 years, while this trend will occur in other countries over the next 100 years.

The aging population and its negative effects will penetrate into the political, economic, and security position of the country in the region and the world.

However, staying young needs care, facilities, happiness, financial stability and etc.

What are the main pillars of a healthy young population?

Access to high-quality primary and secondary education and appropriate training is perhaps the single most important investment countries can make in their youth, which is well received in Iran.

For youth, work may be an economic necessity and can also increase their independence, and self-esteem, and be the source of their family’s future well-being. The ability of girls and young women to compensate for the men’s low income may influence their ability to make choices about marriage and fertility.

Without adequate support services and appropriate economic growth policies, the informal sector offers few prospects for a healthy and prosperous future for today’s youth.

Unemployment is another important concern for youth. More than half of 15- to 24-year-olds in poor countries are both out of school and out of work, with myriad potentially negative consequences. Many factors contribute to unemployment including a lack of skilled workers, and government policies.

The latest employment report released by the Statistical Center reflects the growing trend of unemployment in Iran. In 2020, Iran's unemployment rate was estimated to amount to 10.96 percent of the total labor force.

The country’s economy has also been in a recession, which has exacerbated the difficulties to meet the employment demands of its inhabitants.

In times of a struggling economy, it is typically more difficult to create jobs and introduce people to the labor force.

 Law on Family and Youth Support

By a decree issued by President Ebrahim Raisi, the "Law on Family and Youth Support" approved by the Majlis (Iranian Parliament) was notified to the Ministry of Health and the Vice Presidency for Women and Family Affairs.

The Guardian Council approved the law on November 17 last year to implement a population growth and family support plan for 7 years to change the declining trend of childbearing.

The plan stipulates health insurance for infertile couples, providing services and facilities to working women, providing health and nutrition support packages to mothers and children, educational opportunities for student mothers, providing livelihood support to families, and ongoing medical services to pregnant women.

The national budget bill for the current [Iranian calendar] calendar year, which began on March 21, has proposed 120 trillion rials (nearly $480 million) to implement childbearing and family support plans in the country.